Having watched our pathetic president's July 12th news conference concerning the "Initial Benchmark Assessment Report," I felt the urge to applaud Helen Thomas for verbally assaulting George W. Bush for the war criminal and mass murderer that he is. God bless her for asking: "Mr. President, you started this war, this war of your choosing, and you can end it alone, today, at this point…Don't you accept - don't you understand, we brought the Al Qaida into Iraq?"
Bush, of course, lied to Ms. Thomas when he claimed Saddam Hussein "chose the course" compelling Bush's invasion by ignoring the warning from the UN Security Council: "Disclose, disarm or face serious consequences."
But, "disclose, disarm" what? As virtually every individual on planet earth now knows, Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction to disarm or disclose. More significantly, had it actually been left to the UN Security Council to enforce its resolution - which is to say, had the Bush administration not violated a legally binding international treaty, the UN Charter -Saddam Hussein probably would be alive today and still ruling Iraq, like it or not.
Bush might "firmly believe that the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power," but that's hardly a justification for committing the worst of all war crimes, unprovoked naked aggression. Moreover, were the world's population forced to choose between Hussein and Bush, it's likely that many more millions throughout the world would agree that the world would be better off without George W. Bush in power.
(Imagine our horror, were we to ever find that the world possessed sufficient military power to successfully force its will upon us! Who, then, would be appealing to international law and the protections due to sovereign states?)
But Bush's lie to Helen Thomas was not the only lie he told during his press conference. Look at the lie he embedded in his discussions about pre-invasion troop strength with General Tommy Franks: "During our discussions in the run-up to the decision to remove Saddam Hussein after he ignored the Security Council resolutions, my primary question to General Franks was: Do you have what it takes to succeed?"
In fact, Saddam Hussein complied with the Security Council Resolution 1441, which afforded Iraq "'a final opportunity to comply' with its disarmament obligations, and accordingly it set up an enhanced inspection regime." [Christine Gray, International Law and the Use of Force, p. 271] As international law scholar Christine Gray has concluded: "The determination of a material breach after Resolution 1441 was unilateral in the sense that it was made by the USA, the UK and Australia rather than by the Security Council." [Ibid, p. 277]
And, thus, it was the war mongering Bush regime that cut the inspections short, lest UN weapons inspectors demonstrate that Iraq possessed no WMD - or lest the weather in Iraq would become too hot for invading troops.
Bush's third lie at the press conference was his biggest - and he stumbled while defending it. When Bush asserted, "the same folks that are bombing innocent people in Iraq were the ones who attacked us in America on September the 11th," one reporter called him to task. "What evidence can you present to the American people that the people who attacked the United States on September 11th are, in fact, the same people who are responsible for the bombing taking place in Iraq…And also, are you saying sir, that Al Qaida in Iraq is the same organization being run by Osama bin Laden himself?"
After asserting "Al Qaida in Iraq has sworn allegiance to Osama bin Laden," Bush was forced to retreat. "And the guys who had perpetuated (sic!) the attacks on America - obviously the guys on the airplane are dead. And the commanders, many of those are either dead or in captivity - like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed." Unfortunately, Bush did not retreat to the entire truth.
Had he been entirely honest, Bush would have asserted that U.S. intelligence still has no evidence of operational ties between Saddam Hussein and al Qaida prior to 9/11, that his administration - especially Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney -- despicably seized upon already discredited shards of evidence to make such a connection and that he and Cheney continue trying to establish a link in order to persuade the American public that the invasion of Iraq was necessary in order to combat international terrorism.
Had he been entirely honest, Bush would have mentioned the intelligence reports, which concluded: (1) the U.S. invasion of Iraq inspired numerous otherwise middle class Muslims to become jihadists and (2) the U.S. invasion of Iraq is creating more al Qaida terrorists than the U.S. is killing in Iraq.
Had he been entirely honest, Bush would have noted that only 15 percent of the average daily attacks in Iraq are launched by al Qaida. Some 70 percent come from Sunni insurgents who are determined to rid their country of a foreign invader and occupier. Shiites militias launch the remaining 15 percent.
Thus, had Bush been entirely honest, he would not have claimed "the same folks that are bombing innocent people in Iraq were the ones who attacked us in America on September the 11th."
Nevertheless, after devoting much of his news conference to either exaggerating the progress described in the "Initial Benchmark Assessment Report" or resurrecting old lies to defend his indefensible illegal, immoral invasion of Iraq, Bush brandished the astonishing chutzpa to complain about both the chaos in Iraq created by al Qaida and the "tragic escalation of sectarian violence, sparked by [al Qaida's] bombing of the golden mosque in Samarra."
Chutzpa? Yes! Experts had predicted such chaos and sectarian violence long before Bush ordered the invasion. Thus, Mr. President, precisely because "you started this war," which "brought the Al Qaida into Iraq," you alone are ultimately responsible for all the chaos, death, destruction, dislocation and sectarian violence committed in its wake. It's a verdict fairly screamed from virtually all points on planet earth and one you'll never escape.